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June 13, 2024
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Advice to Freshmen
June 12, 2024

It’s Okay to Panic


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When I was younger, I used to experience panic attacks frequently. For years in between, however, I haven’t experienced any. Recently I was in my room reading when all of a sudden I began feeling like I couldn’t breathe. It felt as if there was not enough oxygen in the room for me to breathe. I remember feeling extremely lightheaded and I was hyperventilating. It was an experience that I can remember in intense detail, I felt as though I had not experienced anything like it before. A few days later, I experienced another one this time at school. Like the first one, it came out of the blue and took me by surprise. Since then, my panic attacks have become very frequent. I was told by a therapist that I had a thing called panic disorder.

Unfortunately, my first few recent attacks had been the worst because I didn’t know exactly what was happening to me or how to deal with them. I felt embarrassed because not only was I experiencing these episodes in front of people who knew me, but I also didn’t have an explanation for what they were. When I was told I had panic disorder, things began to make sense but I still didn’t understand how to explain to people what was happening to me in fear that I would sound like an attention seeker or that I would just sound different in general. 

Now realizing that it isn’t just me who struggles with things like this, I have become more interested in looking into how to deal with attacks. People who have panic disorder experience frequent and unexpected panic attacks. Thinking more about how embarrassed my younger self was about her attacks, I realized that it was nothing to be embarrassed about at all. I have learned to be more caring towards myself when it comes to my panic attacks. A thing that has been holding me back from opening up to people about my disorder freely is the feeling that they wouldn’t understand and I would be left feeling more embarrassed than before. A thing that I have needed to remind myself lately is that my disorder does not define my personality or who I am at all. 

Panic attacks can be different for everyone. Some people may experience a racing heart, intense trembling, and dizziness while others could experience intense chest pain, sweating, and hyperventilating. There is no requirement for what a person should experience in order for it to be called a panic attack. During panic attacks, people may feel scared like something may be after them, or maybe they experience intense anxiety over nothing. Panic attacks can come with a sudden wave of fear or discomfort, and most of the time a feeling of no control. Not everyone who experiences a panic attack develops panic disorder, so a panic attack can happen to anyone. 

A problem that I used to struggle with was learning how to cope with my attacks. Through my experiences, I have discovered a few that work for me. A good one that I use is to remind myself that I am in a safe place and that no one is trying to harm me. I also like to remind myself that the attack will come to an end. In most cases, however, my go-to coping mechanism is to call my dad. My dad is my safe person who helps me out of my own head. Having a person you feel safe going to is a good strategy to use as well, unfortunately, not everyone can be available all the time. It is important to know and practice coping strategies you can use when you are alone as well. A good strategy to use is also just reminding yourself that what you are experiencing is a panic attack and that you aren’t in any real danger. 

Even though panic attacks are frightening, they are a natural occurrence that many people go through. There is no need to be embarrassed by what you experienced or what you are experiencing. It also helps to find a person you can talk to who has experienced an attack a few times and can relate to you as well. Not many people know me well enough to know about my disorder, but I remind myself every day that there is no issue with telling people about it. I shouldn’t be embarrassed and neither should anyone else experiencing panic attacks. 

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About the Contributor
Juliet Weston, Writer
Juliet Weston is a sophomore at FGHS. She loves to read and play guitar. She plans on being a Lawyer in the future.

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  • I

    Imogene WarnerOct 27, 2023 at 12:44 pm

    I LOVE YOU. i will never panic agein.

  • B

    Baylie BrownOct 27, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    I love you